By Victoria Campbell-Hall, Alice Coulter, Nick Howat and Lucy Joyce
BMRB were commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to research factors affecting customer experience of contracted employment provision. The purpose was to inform the development of a ‘customer metric’ to measure customer experience of contracted employment provision and provide a basis for customer choice between providers. The research consisted of: a scoping exercise to gather background information via desk research and stakeholder interviews: exploratory qualitative research with customers to identify key aspects of provision, which would be turned into descriptors for the metrics; and a testing phase for the descriptors identified, with customers, provider staff and key stakeholders via a series of workshops and focus groups.
The research identifies four key factors underpinning experience of contracted employment provision: adviser relationship; adviser knowledge; job opportunities; and skills development. Whilst the importance of these factors varies between different customer groups, taken together they will facilitate a simple, easy to use comparison between providers which provides useful information to the full range of customer groups. These factors align with the department’s Customer Insight Key Drivers - ease of access, treatment, timely response and outcome - but reflect the specific needs of customers of contracted employment provision.